VISITING

Welcome to St Peter’s

As you enter the church through the old cedar doors, you will be struck by the huge quantity of wood used in the church’s construction. The ceiling beams resemble the ribs of a ship's hull, perhaps not surprising in maritime-oriented St George’s, and the aromatic scent of Bermuda cedar often lingers. Candelabra, flags and banners hang over the old box pews and almost every inch of wall space is covered with memorial plaques.

 

For opening times etc, see Planning Your Visit.

 

Furniture

The Communion table and rails are made of local cedar and date back to the earliest days of the colony. The pulpit was made in 1660, with the two lower ‘decks’ added at a later date. The intention of the ‘three decker’ pulpit was to show the relative importance of the information delivered there - the top tier was and is reserved for the delivery of the sermon. The cedar dole cupboard, made around 1640 and beautifully restored, is very rare. Dole cupboards were designed for use in a church setting to hold charitable offerings for distribution (‘doled out’) to the poor of the parish.

 

Bermuda was once covered in forests of endemic Bermuda cedar trees which were invaluable for construction, ship building and furniture. However, between 1946 and 1953, ninety-five percent of the trees were killed by accidentally introduced scale insects. This wood is highly prized by Bermudians today and St Peter’s is a wonderful example of historic cedar construction and furniture.

 

 

Wall Memorials

More than forty memorials cover the walls of the church, some in remembrance of soldiers, many of whom died from yellow fever. Others commemorate prominent individuals in elegant archaic language. The famous English sculptor, John Bacon, whose works are found in many English cathedrals including Westminster Abbey, carved the beautiful Campbell memorial. His Excellency Lt Col William Campbell, briefly Governor of Bermuda, died in December 1796 just a few days after landing on the island - it is said of an illness contracted after a sumptuous turtle-soup banquet in his honour.

 

Organ

The first organ was installed sometime before 1816.  A correspondent of the Bermuda Gazette in its issue of 13 April 1816 wrote of St George’s:    ‘…we have a handsome parish church, a town clock, an organ, and a gallery, a town hall and court house’.    The present organ is a Casavant two manual nine hundred pipe organ from Canada installed in 1984.

 

 

Vestry Exhibit

The vestry houses a superb display of sacred silver, the earliest piece - a Communion cup - dating back to 1625. Also exhibited is a complete Communion set purposely made for and sent out to “their Majesties Chappell” in Bermuda in 1697 by King William and Queen Mary of England. A 1640 King James Bible is displayed together with a 1594 Geneva Bible.

 

Other items displayed record the social history of the church and include memorabilia from a visit by the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth of England, and the coffin plate of Governor Bruere of Bermuda who died in 1780. The coffin plate, together with the Governor’s remains and a musket ball alongside them, were discovered by archaeologists beneath the church floor in 2008.

 

A book of signatures of British royals, heads of state and other VIPs records their visits to the church over the years.